The stars of the Russian theatre in Chekhov's stark play about human failings


Luc Bondy, Theatre of Nations

You are looking at a performance from our archive


One of Europe's greatest theatre directors Luc Bondy stages Chekhov's Russian classic Ivanov, featuring a stellar cast from Moscow's famed Theatre of Nations. In April 2015, the production will premiere in Moscow, two months before its Dutch premiere at the Holland Festival.

There are few great stage writers whose plays Luc Bondy has not brought to the theatre. He has produced work by Genet, Büchner, Fassbinder, Ionesco, Shakespeare, Goethe, Ibsen, Botho Strauß, Beckett – the list seems endless. However, he's not often ventured into the realm of the famous Russians, except for a single Möwe (the Seagull, which won him the Nestroy Theatre Prize in 2000). Now he adds Chekhov's Ivanov to the medley, with a cast of the best actors that the Theatre of Nations has to offer.
Ivanov is played by Yevgeny Mironov, a prominent name in Russian theatre and film, who has also appeared abroad in many productions, including directions by Peter Stein, Thomas Ostermeier, Alvis Hermanis, Robert Lepage and Robert Wilson. Mironov has been a member of the Theatre of Nations since 2006. His many awards include the Russian State Prize (twice), first prize for best male lead at Moscow's prestigious Golden Mask Festival (three times) and many other Russian and international acting prizes for theatre and film.
Ivanov's fiancee Anna Petrovna is played by Chulpan Khamatova, who can compete with Mironov when it comes to talent and fame. She has also played in many theatre and film productions, her many awards including the Russian state prize and a Golden Mask. For her lead role in Shukshin’s Stories (invited in 2010 to the Holland Festival) she won the Chrysal Turandot and the Moskovsky Komsomolets awards for best female lead. Khamatova has also been awarded many prizes in film. Alvis Hermanis, Thomas Ostermeier and Peter Stein are among the great directors she has worked with.

The invitation for Bondy to come and work in Moscow is part of the Theatre of Nations' policy to introduce its actors and its audience to the work of significant European theatre makers. Every year, the theatre invites international directors to the various festivals it organises. For the 2014-2015 season artistic director Yevgeny Mironov embarked on an experiment with the classic Russian oeuvre: he invited three great Western directors – Robert Wilson (United States), Luc Bondy (Switzerland) and Robert Lepage (Canada) – to direct Russian repertoire with the company.

Currently the intendant at the Paris Odéon-Théâtre, Bondy was previously director at the Wiener Festwochen and at the Schaubühne Berlin, in addition to his own stage directions. Before his Russian adventure, he had worked in many places all over the world – from La Monnaie in Brussels to the Münchner Kammerspiele, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Salzburger Festspielen and the Young Vic in London – but he had never directed a stage play or opera in Russia.

He chose to make his Russian debut directing Ivanov, Anton Chekhov's play about a man in his thirties who is so bored with life that he does not even look for a way out. The various characters are dragged along by his boredom, apathy and fecklessness. 'It's a real challenge,' Bondy said in a radio interview. 'Chekhov is a great author, but it's difficult, because nothing happens.'

Chekhov's debut as a playwright was with this play in the very same theatre which now houses the Theatre of Nations, so this new staging has very special significance. Chekhov wrote Ivanov in 1887 at the request of Fyodor Korsh, founder of the very first private theatre in Moscow, the current State Theatre of Nations. The Theatre of Nations has visited the Holland Festival twice before. In 2013 they performed director Andrej Moguchiy's Circo Ambulante, a subtle, metaphoric critique on the current state of Russian theatre. In 2010, they staged a sparkling, modern performance of Vasily Shukshin's post Stalinist stories under the direction of the Latvian director Alvis Hermanis.


Due to illness of director Luc Bundi the performances of Ivanov have been cancelled.

Ivanov will be replaced by The Cherry Orchard by Maly Drama Theatre, directed by Lev Dodin, on 19, 20 and 21 June.

IVN_5253 breed


Luc Bondy (Zurich, Switzerland, 1948) trained at the theatre school of mime legend Jacques Lecoq, before making his stage debut with an adaptation of a Gombrowicz novella at the Théâtre Universitaire International in Paris. Having staged a total of more than sixty theatre productions since 1971, Bondy has predominantly worked in Germany, where he directed the plays of great playwrights such as Genet, Büchner, Fassbinder, Ionesco, Shakespeare, Goethe, Ibsen, Botho Strauß, Beckett and others. From 1985 until 1987 he was artistic co-director at the Schaubühne Berlin under Peter Stein, who he then succeeded.

His famous stagings from this period at the Schaubühne include Marivaux' Triumph of Love (1985), Molières The Misanthrope (1987) and Botho Strauß' Die Zeit und das Zimmer (1989) and Schlußchor (1992). Bondy's theatre directions outside of Berlin have included Schnitzler's Das weite Land (1984) and Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale (1988) in Nanterre, Schnitzler's Der einsame Weg (1988) at the Théâtre Renaud-Barrault in Paris, Ibsen's John Gabriel Borkman (1993) in Lausanne and Botho Strauß' Das Gleichgewicht (1993) at the Salzburger Festspielen (1993). His film directions have included Die Ortliebschen Frauen (1981), Das weite Land (1986) and Ne fais pas ça (2003).
In 1997 Bondy was appointed Director of Theatre at the Wiener Festwochen, a prestigious theatre festival in Vienna, before he was promoted to intendant (general director) at this festival in 2002, a position he held until 2013. At the Wiener Burgtheater he staged a long series of performances which included Chekhov's The Seagull, Yasmina Reza's Drei Mal Leben, Handke's Die schönen Tage von Aranjuez and Molière's Tartuffe. In London, his stagings included Martin Crimp's Cruel and Tender (2004) and Sweet Nothings, an adaptation of Schnitzler's Liebelei (2010). Since 2012, Bondy has been intendant at the Odéon-Théâtre de l'Europe in Paris, his directions including Pinter's The Homecoming and Marivaux' Les Fausses Confidences.

As well as stage plays Bondy has also directed opera, including Wozzeck (1976) in Hamburg, Così fan tutte (1986) at La Monnaie in Brussels, Salome (1992) at the Salzburger Festspielen, Don Carlos (1996) in Paris, Britten's The Turn of the Screw (2001) and Handel's Hercules (2004) at the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, Idomeneo (2005) at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Tosca (2009) at the New York Met and Charlotte Salomon (2014) at the Salzburger Festspielen.

The Theatre of Nations was founded in 1987 as the Friendship of Nations Theatre. In 1991 it was given its current name. It's one of the most broadly orientated theatres in Russia and takes up a unique position among the cultural institutions of Russia. Led by artistic director and actor Yevgeny Mironov, the theatre initiates and develops a huge variety of different productions across all genres and trends, and organises various national and international festivals. The State Theatre of Nations also produces its own performances and plays a central role in the education of a new generation of theatre makers. Big names from the European theatre have been invited to show their work, including Marina Vladi, director Peter Stein and the dance company Parsons Dance. Mironov is also one of the artistic directors of the Russian Territory Festival and a member of the Commission for Arts and Culture, under the patronage of the President of the Russian Federation. Following Shukshin’s Stories by the Latvian director Alvis Hermanis in 2010, the company visited the Holland Festival for a second time in 2013, performing Circo Ambulante by the politically engaged Russian director Andrej Moguchiy.

IVN_5015 half breed IVN_4801 half breed


Luc Bondy
Anton Tsjechov
Richard Peduzzi
Moidele Bickel
Theatre of Nations
with a.o.
Yevgeny Mironov (Ivanov)
Chulpan Khamatova (Anna Petrovna)
Vladimir Kalisanov (Shabelsky)
Dmitry Maryanov (Borkin)
Igor Gordin (Lebedev)
Marianna Shults (Babakina)
Yulia Svezhakova (Zinaida Savvishna)
Dmitry Serdyuk (Lvov)
Olga Volkova/ Olga Lapshina (Avdotya Nazarovna)